A failure for CD4 levels to rise in the face of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for HIV is associated with a greater risk of virus-related non-AIDS-defining cancers, aidsmap reports. Publishing their findings in the journal AIDS, researchers studied 9,389 people who began ARVs between 1996 and 2011.

The investigators followed the participants for a median of 3.3 years after their first six months of treatment. All told, the participants contributed 42,538 person-years of follow-up and an average of nine CD4 screen results.

The study group's members were diagnosed with 164 non-AIDS-defining cancers, for an incidence rate of 395 per 100,000 person years. Forty percent of these cancers (65) were virus related, the most common of which was anal cancer, with 26 diagnoses.

For every increase of 100 CD4s six months after beginning therapy, there was a 29 percent risk reduction in virus-related non-AIDS-defining cancer.

The study authors advised intensive screening for such cancers among HIV-positive people with low CD4s.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.